This project was executed in 2012 when Smarty was in kindergarten. I used to have an older post on this project, but I decided to start a new series Engineer This on my blog and will refresh and republish older posts with new graphics, text and links if they fit into this series.
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Creative Challenges From SchoolEvery two months or so our school gives every grade some sort of creative project as homework. Usually they are book reports in different variations or other projects involving writing, but one stood out in these three years for its ability to spur creativity and hands-on approach. Students were asked to design and build a leprechaun trap. Usually this project is done in the first grade, but Smarty was in K-1 combo class, so she did it in kindergarten and repeated it again in the first grade.
Design Decisions From a 5 Year Old
Smarty was pretty decisive about her vision for building a leprechaun trap. She wanted to place a golden coin lure inside of the box and cover the floor of the box with sticky tape to trap a poor leprechaun like a fly on fly paper. Papa helped her with designing a ladder for a leprechaun to climb to the top of the box. While this project required some guidance and supervision, she did all the painting, gluing and decorating for her leprechaun trap, so it was truly her work.
Getting Children to Write Within Other Activities
Smarty was still a reluctant writer in kindergarten, but she really applied herself to designing “billboards” for her leprechaun trap proving yet again that children will do a difficult activity a lot more willingly if it is wrapped within a game or an interesting project. She surprised all of us by applying “reverse psychology” in one of her leprechaun ads, which reads, No Leprechauns Allowed! She explained that leprechauns love to do forbidden things and will certainly do the opposite of her message.
A Lesson in Planning
task board, just as I do for my work related projects.
Smarty was very pleased to take her leprechaun trap to school and share it with her classmates. As a parent, I found it interesting to be able to see other traps and admire creativity of her classmates and, in some cases, creativity of their parents
Pair This Project With a Book About St Patrick’s Day
We chose to read The Night Before St Patrick’s Day by Natasha Wing after Smarty had completed her leprechaun trap, since the whole book is based on the premise of catching a leprechaun and several traps are featured in the book. The illustrations by Amy Wummer are lovely and really reflect the playfulness of Natasha Wing’s text. This book is actually one of our favorites for St Patrick’s Day, and we have it in our own library.
More Resources for St Patrick’s Day
From my blog:St Patrick’s Day Pinterest Board Follow Natalie Planet Smarty Pants's board St Patrick's Day on Pinterest.